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Bill Belichick Conf. Call Transcript 8/29/04

Belichick: I think that was something that we needed and it was good for us because Carolina is a physical team.



BB: On the game, I thought it was a pretty physical contest both ways. I think that was something that we needed and it was good for us because Carolina is a physical team. I was pleased with that aspect of it. The execution in the game wasn't anything to write home about. We had our moments, both good and bad, but we still have a lot of things to work on. We had a lot of penalties, mistakes and errors on defense. We lost the ball four times, even though we were lucky to get a couple of them back. Basically we should have had four turnovers. All those things could be a lot better, so we have plenty of things to work on and correct, although I thought there were some positives that we can coach from and build on. From a roster standpoint, we have to do something with a very small number of players here by Tuesday. I would say probably less than five, in terms of either releasing them or putting them on some type of list. I don't feel like we are in any big rush to do that. We will try to gather all the information we can and then make the best decision for the team. That doesn't have to be done until Tuesday and I'm not sure if it will happen before that. If it does, obviously we will let you know, but it may not. Now we are looking at a game in four days against Jacksonville so we are on a fast track here and then obviously we have the Colts right behind that. We are trying to push through it here in terms of getting ready for a couple games and dealing with the personnel situations and decisions. I feel like we are kind of on a treadmill that is going at a pretty good pace. That is what I have.

Q: After three games, are you where you thought you would be?

BB: I don't think you can ever really know where you are going to be at any point in time. So many things happen in training camp and change from the beginning. At this point we have had almost 30 practices and three games. Some guys have participated more than others. Some groups have had more continuity than others. Again it is hard to evaluate where you are on a lot of areas because teams aren't game planning for, so you are running your stuff and they are running their stuff. Sometimes those matchups could be favorable or unfavorable and then that can change a lot when you get into the season and start getting more specific for each team that you play. I don't know if I can really answer that question. The way we try to go about it is to get the things installed that we want to install and do it at a pace where everyone understands them and hopefully can execute them and then try to perfect the things that don't look as good or we are having a little more trouble with. Even sometimes, things that you think are going along okay, when you get to the regular season games that is not always the case. We are just trying to get batter in every phase of the game.

Q: Can you talk about the use of what seems to be more two tight end formations?

BB: That has really been the main part of our offense. When we had [Marc] Edwards a couple of years ago we were a little bit more of a two-back team, but even then not a great deal, but probably more than the last couple years. Again, I think Charlie [Weis] has a lot of flexibility and we have a lot of flexibility offensively in what we can do. Sometimes we are a multiple receiver set, sometimes we are in multiple tight end sets and sometimes we use a couple of backs in the game. I think a lot of that will be dependent, week-to-week, on the game plan and how we want to attack. If you had to just pick out what our basic offensive set would be, more than anything else percentage wise it has been two tight ends, two receivers and one back.

Q: What did Corey Dillon primarily run in Cincinnati? Did he usually have a fullback or was he usually a one back?

BB: Both, but he had a lead back in there probably more than we have.

Q: Is that an adjustment for him?

BB: No. They have run both. They run a lot of one back offense. You saw them play last week. They run a lot of multiple receivers as well where it is a tight end, a back and three receivers. They mix it up and they did that not just since Marvin [Lewis] has been there, but previously when Dick LeBeau was there with a lot of the same elements.

Q: Is it safe to say that Benjamin Watson has been a fast learner since he has finally signed?

BB: I think he has done okay. It is not perfect. There are a lot of things that need to be done better. Benjamin was here all spring and went through all the passing camps and the mini camps and a majority of those plays were installed. It wasn't like he didn't get exposure to them from a learning standpoint. He is a smart kid and he has worked hard enough to be able to, for the most part, learn his assignments although there are somethings that look better than others. I think that if he continues to work hard and continues to get the reps, the timing and execution can be there and he can handle some different assignments and give us possibly a little variety in what we do with the same personnel group on the field. He does have some skill in different areas.

Q: Is there one area in which you had hoped to gather information over the last month that you still might have some questions as far as making the decisions you need to make? One spot I'm wondering about is the offensive line

BB: I think that I can say that about every position. I hate to disagree with you, but I would say less so on the offensive line then in a lot of other spots. This year, compared to other years, we have had basically the same players out there all the time. Tom [Ashworth] and Matt [Light] missed a little bit of time early, but since then they have come along and have got a lot of reps at positions that we have seen them play before, so we can evaluate and compared there performance to something we have seen in the past. That group has gotten a lot of playing time and a lot of snaps and it has been a pretty consistent positions. In the past we have been in situations where we have gotten thin and had to move guys from here to there. Sometimes it is good to do that because it builds your depth, but when you have to do it just to survive and get five guys out there on the field it is not always the best learning situation. I think we have gotten a pretty good look at a lot of those guys and I think that for the most part have had a decent training camp and we have more continuity there then we had some other years when we could barely get five or six of them out there at once.

Q: Do you expect Troy Brown's injury to keep him out of the Indianapolis opener?

BB: I do not have an update. I was asked about that last night. Let me say this. I understand what you are asking and I understand the interest in our player's health. I know what the NFL rules are in terms of injury reports. I will do all that I can to provide accurate information, but I don't want to speculate and say something that ends up being inaccurate or nothing more than a guess. I don't know anything now. If I have accurate information that I can give to you, I will give it to you when I know it. That is pretty much the way it is now. I imagine it will be that way after most games too. It is hard to tell with the adrenaline and you are getting back late at 3:30 a.m. or 4:00 a.m. and here it is just barely 12 hours later. It's hard to get a real accurate assessment of a physical condition at this point. I'm not trying to evade it or give you the run around. That is the truth. I would like to know as much as you would.

Q: Three weeks ago you said Rohan Davey was clearly ahead of the two other guys. Not where would you say the backup quarterback situation is?

BB: I don't think anything has changed. I think Kliff [Kingsbury] has worked hard. He has been with us now for quite a while. He has put in a lot of time and energy. He has worked hard and taken a number of reps in practice. I just felt like last night, in the third preseason game, that Kliff really hasn't had a chance to play too much and that we would give him more extended time in this game. Rohan will get more time next week against Jacksonville. Rather than put each guy in for three or six plays, we thought we would only play two quarterbacks in this game, Tom [Brady] and somebody else. We just thought it would be a good chance for Kliff to get some continuous playing time, in other words some consecutive series rather than just getting tossed in for a play or two. That is why we did it that way last night. It doesn't have anything to do with the depth chart. It has to do with looking at players and trying to evaluate them under game conditions.

Q: Can you talk about the decision of using Vince Wilfork at defensive end for a few series?

BB: Using players at different positions is all about building the depth on your roster and within your team so that guys can play more than one spot in the event that you need them, which you at going to need from somebody or a number of people so that have some background in it and not only teaching in it, but also some game experience. If it comes to that, they have something to build on. I think he did okay when he was in there. Somethings were better than others. I think his primary spot will be on the center where it has been most of the time, but Vince is a versatile guy and I think he can do some other things besides play on the nose. If we need him and it comes to that, we want to see what that looks like.

Q: I'm wondering about some of the younger players and the decisions you have to make. Chas Gessner got some action with the so-called first unit last night. Was it is production over camp that made you want to see him in there?

BB: I think Chas has done some good things. I thought he had a pretty solid performance against Philadelphia and has shown up at times in practice, but that was probably more a reflection of us not having many receivers last night. Had a couple of those other guys been available to play more, they probably would have played and would like to play them. For one reason or another, we can seem to get many receivers on the field on a consistent basis. That is nothing new.

Q: I know he really isn't on the fringe, but how does Dexter Reid look in regards to your expectations?

BB: When you are dealing with rookies and young players I think your time frame is longer than a couple of weeks or a couple of preseason games. Sometimes it has to be that and you just have to make a decision and go with it. To really get a full evaluation, it takes a little bit longer then that and you see plenty of players in this league, on our team and on other teams, that didn't make it has rookies or didn't make it their first year and have gone on to be good players, whether it is with the first team they were with or another team. I think Dexter has done some good things. In terms of his development, he is coming along and he has certainly improved in the month he has been here. He is a smart kid and all the things we have talked about before. Where that puts him, where that is going to put him and where it is going to go from here, I don't really know. I hope that it will continue to go forward and go upward, but that remains to be seen. He has certainly in all three games, at some point or another in each game been productive and shown toughness and an aggressive side to be a defensive or special teams player that we like. Hopefully he can continue to build on that.

Q: Beyond preparations and the evaluation of players, is there anything in particular that you will be looking for in this last preseason game?

BB: No. Those would be the two main things, evaluating the players and taking this last opportunity to get the players ready. Again, you have a number of players and you can only play so many. Getting the players ready to play based on what you feel they need individually and has a group and then try to make your evaluations. With the evaluations, I think I can make a point of this too because it seems like nobody talks about this, but I will add this comment to it. It is not really just about the 53-man roster. There is an eight-man practice squad and part of the evaluations are the guys you don't keep, who you want to try to get on your practice squad. There is probably going to be a point in time somewhere where we will want or need to bring people back on the team that won't make the final 53. So there is still an evaluation there as to if you go to those people, we can't keep them all, so which ever ones are out there and we go to them what value do they have and what is the best thing they can do and what would there role be and how did they perform in that role when they were put in it? It is not just the final cut. It is continuing to evaluate to players that could potentially be on your active roster, whether it is on a resigning basis or on a practice squad basis. Like Scott Farley, who was a kid last year that wasn't even on the roster that we put in Europe whose is now in training camp and is competing for a spot. It is an ongoing process and it doesn't just end. It is not like high school where you have a graduation day and everyone gets their diploma and that is it. This is something where okay it is the final cut, but you are going to be hearing from a lot of these guys again, one way or another, either on this team or in the league. So it is another game to evaluate that.

Q: Can you talk about Stephen Neal, who played a lot last night?

BB: Some good and some could have been better. He played in a rotation there with Joe [Andruzzi], Dan [Koppen], and Russ [Hochstein]. Inside at times I think we blocked them okay and we were able to step up in the pocket and run the ball inside. There were other times when it could have been better and we got some inside pressure and we didn't have much room to run in there. I think Steve's game has improved a lot though during this preseason. He got to a point in the 2002 season that was respectable and competitive and I think this year he started probably slightly above that point as opposed to behind it and has built on that.

Q: Could you expand on the reason Ty Law did not play last night and was it connected to him missing time in training camp?

BB: I know what you are asking in the end. I don't know how there could possibly be any connection whatsoever. How ever you want to weave it, I can't possibly see anything. His leg was a little tight. He told me how he felt. He wanted to go. I thought it would be best if he didn't play. I didn't think there was any point trying to put somebody out there who wasn't at his position at 100 percent just to prove that he could go out and play. I would never question that with him. That is what I said before the game. That is what I said after the game. That is what I'm saying the day after the game. I don't know how else I can put it

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